Silla sat there, staring. At least trying to stare. Her eyes were still healing from the blast. Little flecks of light still danced in and out of her vision if she looked at one spot for too long. The pain didn’t bother her. It was nothing compared to the feeling in her chest. Her heart pounded as if she wasn’t breathing and needed nothing more than to gasp for air, but all she did was try to stare. She could hardly move, hardly breathe. Silla didn’t want to think, and she was tired, so tired. But, she didn’t want to sleep. It was as if she didn’t want to exist, and yet, she didn’t want to die.
It was the pain in her chest. The flecks of light in her eyes. Constant reminders is what they were. Constant, touching reminders. Her friend was gone. Just gone. In a flash. In a wave of heat. In an explosion that never should have happened. She had been there for her friend since they were kids. Since they were eight years old. Together, always together. They learned. They spared. They taught. Everything they did they did for the better of the future. For the future of every Adaunte. They were needed here, and now, her friend was gone.
The pain in her chest deepened, and the ache got stronger. Air. Silla needed to breathe, but she feared any extra breath would dull her pain. She didn’t want to forget. She couldn’t forget. She failed. She was there. Right there. Moments. Inches. Just there. And she failed.
And her friend was gone. There were no tears left. Just a hollow, empty, tortured feeling.
Silla looked at the empty canvass that sat in front of her. That was how she felt. Blank. She would disappear into that canvass if she was given the chance, but instead just watched as the flecks danced across the canvass. White flecks to match the white canvass. She shifted her gaze to the little stand beside her easel and focused on her paints. Her colored paints. Again, the pain in her chest deepened.
Colored paints may be what they were, but that was not what she could see. Shades of grey. That was all they were now. Shades of grey. The flash took more than her friend’s life, it took her eyes, her color, her way of viewing the world with such beauty. The color was lost. The damage was done.
Silla brought her hands together over her eyes as she lifted her legs, resting her elbows on her thighs. Sitting and willing the tears to come but still no tears came.
As she sat in silence, in darkness, the door behind her opened. Silla didn’t hear one sound of his movement but smelled the sun on his skin and richness of the fabric that completed his uniform once he was standing beside her.
Marron hurt seeing her like this. He knew nothing he could say would save her from the pain she was feeling. He followed where her gaze had been to the empty canvass and paints he knew that pained her even more. He turned back to her and placed his hands on the sides of her head, thumbs covering her hands, and kissed the top of her head.
He pulled back and walked to the stand of paints and grabbed a wooden palette. It was Silla’s favorite. She had hand-carved it herself when she was a young Adaunte and had used it ever since. Marron looked back at Silla who still sat with her legs up and hands covering before he picked up the first paint bottle. He squeezed blue, red, orange, yellow, green, as many colors as he could fit onto the palette.
Silla could hear him moving, lifting one bottle at a time. Finally she uncovered her eyes and looked at him. He stood there with the palette and brush in one hand and was reaching out to her with the other. She looked at the palette and back at him before taking his hand. He pulled her to him and faced her toward the canvass. He wrapped his free arm around her waist and held the palette on her side.
He whispered, his lips beside her cheek, “I will be the color in your eyes.”
Silla caught her breath, and he held her tighter. She only stood holding her breath for another moment, emotions fluttering in every direction, before taking the brush from his fingers.
Tears finally flowed, as she looked at the canvass in front of her. The possibilities were coming back. The heaviness in her heart was lighter.
Marron pointed to a little mound of paint. Silla dipped her brush, took a breath, and touched brush to canvass.